15 Jul 2010


'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'

Swithin (also written as Swithun) was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester famous for his charitable gifts and building of churches.

Legend has it that as he lay on his deathbed, he asked to be buried out of doors (as opposed to in a church) where he would be walked and rained upon. For some nine years his wishes were followed, but then, on the 15th of July (971), the monks of Winchester attempted to remove his remains to a splendid shrine inside the cathedral.

During this removal, it is said, that there was a heavy storm which led to the 'old wives' tale (folklore) that if it rains on St. Swithin's Day (July 15th), it will rain for the next 40 days in succession whereas, if it is fine, it will be followed by 40 days of fine weather.

According to the MET OFFICE, this is nothing more than an old wives tale. Put to the 'test' on, no less than, 55 occasions, when it has been wet on July 15th and 40 days of rain did not follow.

But what about the apples associated with Saint Swithin?

Believed to be a keen grower of apple trees, there is an old saying that when it rains on St Swithin's day, it is the saint christening the apples.

Apple growers ask St. Swithin for his blessing each year as they believe:-

  • Rain on St. Swithin's day 'blesses and christens the apples'.

  • No apple should picked or eaten before July 15th.

  • Apples still growing at St Swithin's day will ripen fully.
READ MORE about Swithin.


Anonymous said...

The illustration made me laugh out loud. Thanks for introducing me to St. Swithin.

SG said...

Thanks for the informative post. I know a little about Swithin.

Arti said...

The story is very interesting!!
Didnt know about Saint Swithin's Day!

chitra said...

Thoroughly enjoyed the story...

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Awesome. Old wives tales or not, I think they're fascinating.

The beginning of the post was hilarious!

Nikki-ann said...

I hope it doesn't rain for 40 days... It's tipping it down here and I'm off to York for a few days next week so I'd rather it was dry!

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Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

Another thing I didn't know about..
Saint Swithin's Day!
Awesome story!
B xx

purplume said...

Very interesting. I thought you were going to say it rained until they put his remains back outdoors. XD

Jenners said...

A book I just read, "One Day" by David Nicholls, features St. Swithin's day quite prominently throughout the book and mentioned the poem too!!!!

Lily said...

I love this sort of post, thanks for introducting me to St. Swithin, a saint I did not know of before now :)

Kelly said...

I've heard of St. Swithin, but didn't know the history.

Slowly, but surely making my way through all the entries I missed!

Happy 21st to your niece today!! My youngest recently celebrated his 21st.